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Erasmus in Finland 2019!


This is the story of two Greek friends who found themselves in southern Finland. Summer 2018 was spent talking about our possible Erasmus experience with my friends. Daydreaming about where to go, the places we would see and all the people we could meet. It was endless conversations about choosing a country that we would come to remember forever. We had attended all the seminars our university arranged, listening about the possibilities and the different programs we had the opportunity to be a part of. When the time to apply for the Erasmus program came, Finland seemed like the other end of the world to us.

After careful consideration and a lot of research, the two of us decided to come to Finland for the following reasons : First, Aurora Borealis. Seeing the northern lights is a once in a lifetime opportunity we did not want to miss. Second, it is a country we did not plan on visiting otherwise and is extremely different from our country . Also, we were told that as a program it is the best our university is collaborating with. And so, we started filling out the paperwork. Knowing that we were coming to Finland, which is a much more expensive country than Greece, we got part-time jobs to save some money for all our exciting plans! Before departing from our university -Hellenic Mediterranean University - the paperwork was overwhelming. We were asked to send many files and a lot of tests to prove we are healthy as should be to work as nurses. Of course, that didn't discourage us! As time went by, we were more and more excited to start this new adventure.

Upon our arrival, everything went well, and we had a meeting with all the people we would need to communicate with for our time in Finland. Soon, we met with the rest of the exchange students and without realizing it then, we had just met our family for the next few months and hopefully for the rest of our lives! We arrived in February and the whole city was white, covered in snow and ice! Coming from Greece was really hard to get used to this cold weather, but we enjoyed every snowy day. There was a trip to Tornimaki ski and when the day came we met with the others exchange students and started talking about the options of activities we had. Cross country ski, downhill ski and snowboard. As we hadn’t tried ski before, we thought that the best option was cross country skibut our friends convinced us to go downhill. It was really fun to see each other fall and also an amazing experience we will definitely never forget.Few months later everything turned incredibly green. We loved how many lakes, trees and forests there are. One can never get bored while on a walk because of the beautiful scenery.

However, Finland does not have many exciting places to visit, and they mostly all look the same. We noticed a lot of different habits that Finnish people have. What seemed strange is that in many offices people are standing up behind their desk, and didn't wear shoes! Something really nice is that even though the Finnish are shy to speak English, everyone is very kind and goes out of their way to help you. The same attitude also applies at their work place. They are always eager to help out a busy coworker and lighten the load.

Traditional food is really different from ours but at the same time its exciting to try something new, like reindeer meat. One of the most strange things for us here is that most of the people don’t cook and prefer to take ready meals at work from the supermarket.

They way of living differs too much from The Mediterranean one. In Mikkeli all the stores and restaurants are closed after 18.00- 19.00 and there's little to do around town especially in the cold winter. In Greece, stores close at 14.00 for lunch and Siesta (noon nap), then everything opens again at 17.00 until at least 21.00, and of course the restaurants and bars are open way pastmidnight. It is really interesting to see the everyday life looks like in different countries.

Traveling was a challenge for us because we had practical training everyday. Nonetheless, we planed as much as possible and were ready to visit as many places as we could! Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Tallinn in Estonia, ST. Petersburg in Russia, Stockholm in Sweden. Nothing describes an Erasmus experience more than traveling, new friends, endless parties, carefree life, culture and some drama.

Erasmus opens up your mind and widens your horizons, in ways you only realize after it is over. It gives you confidence, independence and life-long memories. It has truly been a life-changing experience


Share your Erasmus Experience in Mikkeli!

If you know Mikkeli as native, traveler or as exchange student... share your opinion on Mikkeli! Rate different characteristics and share your experience.

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